New rendition of S’pore’s national anthem debuts on air

Photo: Andrew Too Boon Tan | Moment | Getty Images

The new rendition of Singapore’s national anthem Majulah Singapura made its debut on public airwaves on Tue (3 Dec).

The release of the new version, recorded by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, marks the 60th anniversary of the Republic’s national symbols — namely the National Anthem, the state crest and flag.

Composed by the late Zubir Said in 1958, Majulah Singapura was adapted slightly in 1959 after Singapore had attained self-governance, before it was introduced as Singapore’s National Anthem on 3 Dec 1959.

A spokesperson for the Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth earlier told The Straits Times that the new rendition is upon the 2001 musical arrangement by composer and Cultural Medallion winner Phoon Yew Tien.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu told reporters on the sidelines of the One Community Fiesta carnival at Jurong Lake Gardens on Sun (1 Dec) that the introduction of Singapore’s national symbols was a significant moment for the Republic as a young nation.

Listening to the Anthem, whether you’re in Singapore or when you’re overseas, brings along the emotions of being one with one another and with the country,” said Ms Fu.

“I think 60 years on, Singaporeans are wearing the flag proudly. They are singing the Anthem proudly,” she said.

“Right now, our Team Singapore athletes are wearing the flag on their sleeves, proudly representing Singapore, and if they win, they will be on the podium and the National Anthem will be played,” she added, referring to the SEA Games in Manila“.

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra has previously performed Phoon’s arrangement of Majulah Singapura at the finale of its National Day Concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 18 Aug last year.

New music video features veteran singer-songwriter Ramli Sarip’s NDP 2019 rendition

Separately, a new music video featuring the version performed by veteran singer-songwriter Ramli Sarip at the National Day Parade at Padang this year was also released today.

Ramli, who is affectionately known in the regional Malay music industry and among fans as “Papa Rock”, is seen performing alongside other Singaporeans, including comic writer-artist Sonny Liew, wheelchair-bound rapper and music producer Danial Bawthan — commercially known as Wheelsmith — and former Nominated Member of Parliament Kuik Shiao-Yin.

Creative producer Benjamin Tan, 30, who was tasked to be the NDP’s show producer for two consecutive years since last year, told The Straits Times: “While working on the NDP, I became more aware of how powerful the lyrics were and how the song is timeless and resonant.”

“I felt that it was a pity if we didn’t do a proper music video for this version of Majulah Singapura,” he added.

Film director Alvin Lee, 28, said the black-and-white scheme deployed in the video pays homage to the past.

“Everyone in the video is looking up but in different directions. This symbolises how we all have different ideals and different notions of progress but, at the end of the day, we are all Singaporeans,” he added.

Tan also noted that the Singaporeans who appear with Ramli in the video are “everyday people doing wonderful and extraordinary work”, including criminal lawyer Josephus Tan, AIDS activists Iris Verghese Sim and Calvin Tan, and Interfaith Youth Circle co-founder Dhaniah Suhana.

The music was directed by this year’s NDP music director Sydney Tan, and — in stark contrast to the orchestral version — features additional traditional instruments such as an erhu played by musician Darrel Xin and a tabla played by musician Mohamed Noor.

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